TUM Brussels: Thomas F. Hofmann reflects on ten years of EuroTech – and the potential for Europe’s future

TUM Brussels |

In the realm of this year’s EuroTech Presidents’ Meeting on June 2, the outgoing and incoming EuroTech presidents, Thomas F. Hofmann from Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Martin Vetterli from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), interviewed each other. In their conversation, they recall the original motivation for establishing an alliance of the best technical universities in Europe and discuss key challenges that lie ahead.

Graphic with portrait pictures of the eight university presidents plus quote
For the first time, the six EuroTech Presidents met with EuroTeQ project partners TalTech and CTU to discuss their joint ambition. Photo: EuroTech Universities Alliance
Graphic with portrait pictures of TUM President Hofmann and EPFL President Vetterli plus quote
The current and incoming EuroTech presidents reflect on accomplishments to date and future goals of the alliance. Photo: EuroTech Universities Alliance

“What do you consider the highlights of your presidency, Martin Vetterli asks TUM President Thomas F. Hofmann in the video interview. He praises his colleague's achievements over the past two years, during which the latter chaired the EuroTech Alliance from October 2019 to June 2021.

This summer, EPFL will take over the EuroTech presidency from TUM. Hofmann says that he saw a lot of potential when he took over and swiftly implemented an ambitious vision, mission, and a new roadmap with concrete goals the Alliance wants to reach by 2025. The new initiatives will be launched in the areas of teaching and learning, sustainable campus development, and joint research infrastructures. This marks an unprecedented effort by the partners to reach a new level of collaboration.

The ambitions show the importance that all six presidents attribute to the alliance. With their joint research and innovation agenda, EuroTech wants to promote the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and contribute to Europe's digital sovereignty. Being successful in the prestigious European Universities Initiative and launching the EuroTeQ Engineering University was also a milestone of the TUM presidency in the past year.

Coming stronger out of the crisis – empowering society

Thomas F. Hofmann's entire presidency overlapped with the Corona crisis. In the interview, he expressed his delight that all members of the EuroTech family were nevertheless always motivated to find creative solutions, leave their comfort zone, and open up new fields of action. "We were able to show that EuroTech is a dynamic and resilient network that explores new fields of action – and not just a paper tiger," Hofmann said.

Martin Vetterli is excited to take over the steering wheel and wants to propose to get more students involved in the alliance’s activities. Looking to the future, he is convinced that EuroTech's research excellence, entrepreneurial spirit, and commitment to technological innovation will drive Europe forward and strengthen its digital sovereignty.

All partners share the conviction that the societal developments of recent years require new approaches to equip our graduates with the necessary skills and competencies relevant for shaping a sustainable future. This includes a high quality of life, equal opportunities, and economic growth in Europe. This is of central importance and completely in line with the motto of the tenth anniversary of EuroTech, which is ‘Empowering Society’.

The video interview is released in parallel to this year’s EuroTech Presidents’ Meeting on June 2. It targets policymakers and should highlight the role the Alliance plays in the European context. You can watch the full interview of the two presidents on the YouTube channel of the EuroTech Universities Alliance.

EuroTech Presidents’ Meeting and first EuroTeQ Presidential Strategy Forum

For the second year, the EuroTech Presidents conducted their annual meeting virtually. To honor ten years of EuroTech accordingly, they originally planned to meet in Eindhoven, because TU/e is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year under the motto 'Heroes like you'.

TU/e President Robert-Jan Smits states that with 65 years of age the university is now even more ambitious. The motto is dedicated to all the exceptional efforts of the people at the university and all around the world, to diminish the virus and its negative effects, keep society, research and education going, and develop innovations helping to reach these accomplishments.

This affirmative spirit is also reflected in the EuroTech values that the presidents defined for the alliance during this meeting. They complement the new EuroTech vision and mission statement:

  • Academic Freedom
  • Excellence
  • Societal Impact & Sustainability
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Integrity & Responsibility
  • Innovative & Entrepreneurial Thinking

Additionally, the presidents discussed how the partners can better cross-connect their eco-systems and explore these connections regarding EuroTech research and innovation activities.

With the EuroTeQ Engineering University, the partners were successful in the European Universities Initiative of the European Commission. The project started in November 2020 and the joint activities in the realm of education have since then developed dynamically. The first EuroTeQ Presidential Strategy Forum commenced when project partners TalTech and CTU joined the virtual meeting.

TalTech President Tiit Land and CTU President Vojtěch Petráček briefly introduced their universities and expressed their appreciation to be part of the EuroTeQ endeavour. TUM’s Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chair of the EuroTeQ Management Board, Gerhard Müller, introduced a discussion over the achievements and key challenges of the ambitious project, and presented the plans the EU has put forward regarding the future of the initiative.

The partners praised the collaboration and the added value for students and teachers after only seven months of the project and are all very committed to taking the project even further together. If you are interested to engage more in EuroTech or EuroTeQ activities – as an academic, a colleague, a student – please contact Maria-Valerie Schegk.